Chennai: Parents were surprised that in one night the desolate looking Anganwadi school at Kannigapuram, K K Nagar, in the city, that got a fresh coat of paint. This was due to the initiative taken up by NGO Thuvakkam.
“My friends and I attended the firewalk festival at Kanniamman Koil at Kannigapuram. The temple and the nearby buildings looked bright and clean. But the Anganwadi nearby was not so. When we entered the school, it was different. The interiors were clean. So, we decided to give it a makeover,” said S Ganeshan, a volunteer of Thuvakkam.
“After consulting with our team, we fixed 21 October, 8 pm for the work. On getting the consent of the Anganwadi staff, we asked for local support. Six people came forward, apart from our eight volunteers. Former Councillor M Gunasekaran helped us by providing paint materials,” he said.
The volunteers whitewashed and painted the exterior portion of the Anganwadi from 8 pm to 3 am. “We painted pictures of children and an elephant dropping its calf to school. This is symbolically to make more parents drop their children in the Anganwadi,” said Ganeshan.
So far, 19 schools in the city were given a makeover by the NGO under the ‘Clean Up After Dark’ initiative. “We take up the work only at night as many of us are employed. Also, during dark, there would be no disturbance and it would be a surprise for the onlookers the next morning, when they see the painted building,” said Ganeshan.
The local volunteers who helped in the painting work were honoured with medals and this would make them want to take up similar work in the locality, he said.
“There are 45 children in the Anganwadi and we are thankful for the NGO for painting the exteriors. Many have started to approach after seeing the good ambience outside, though things are pucca inside,” said K Bhuvaneswari, Anganwadi worker.
The NGO, started by a group of students led by Krishna Kumar from SRM University in 2014, has now over 300 volunteers in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
The NGO undertakes various works like taking tuition classes for HIV-affected children, tree plantation drive and cleaning up lakes. The executive board members meet once a month at the head office at Mylapore. Suggestions are invited and based on it, works are taken up.
The NGO also invites public participation, where they can take pictures of public places like schools, hospitals and bus stops which look untidy and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details, and for volunteering with Thuvakkam visit fb.com/thuvakkam or www.thuvakkam.org
Ganeshan can be reached at 99406 63236.